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high dose radioactive iodine and exposure to children

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug 2011

Im having my first hospitalization for high dose radioactive iodine treatment and Im very worried about exposing my 1 year old, 3 year old, and 4 year old when Im released. I am married but he works long days and I am the only one available to care for them. Ive read so many conflicting articles about how long to stay away from them and Im very very nervous. Some say 3 days others 1 month. Also conflicting info about precautions: plastic on bed, disposable utensils etc. Can anyone tell me a concrete guideline for when I can take an active role in parenting after discharge and what should be done rather than what is myth and unnesesary. I dont want any harm done to the babies but I will have to work hard to find alternative care for them and will miss them greatly for the days where exposure is too great. PS - I cant find spell check and am super hypothyroid so good luck reading this :-)!

Posts: 507
Joined: Apr 2010

from www.thyca.org

Information If You Go Home Immediately After Receiving RAI

As your doctor will have explained to you, you will be receiving radioactive iodine as your treatment. Radioactive iodine decreases the function of thyroid cells and inhibits their ability to grow. It is given to you in liquid or pill form and goes directly to the thyroid gland where it is absorbed by the thyroid tissue. Most of the radioactive iodine will be received by your thyroid gland. Any radioactive iodine not collected by the thyroid gland will be eliminated during the first few days through urine, feces, saliva and sweat. The following steps listed below will help assure that the excreted radiation from your body does not contaminate the environment or cause harm to other people.

For information about possible side effects of radioactive iodine, see the information below in the section about the hospital stay.

What do I do at home?
If you go home immediately after a treatment dose, use the following guidelines regarding distance, time, and hygiene.

Minimize contact (less than 3 feet or 0.6 meter for more than 1 hour each day) with everyone for the first five days, and with small children or pregnant women for eight days.
Do not sit next to someone in an automobile for more than one hour.
Sleep in a separate room and use separate bath linen and launder these and underclothing separately for one week.
Wash your hands with soap and plenty of water every time you use the toilet.
Rinse the sink and tub thoroughly after using them.
Use separate eating utensils or disposable eating utensils. Wash eating utensils separately for one week. Do not prepare food for others.
Flush toilet 2-3 times after use for two weeks after discharge.
Males should sit when urinating to avoid splashing for one week.
Discuss with your doctor how long you should wait before starting a pregnancy after your treatment (usually at least two months for males and six months for females).
If you are breastfeeding, it should be discontinued, but can be resumed for subsequent childbirths.

hope that helps

your spelling is fine i forget to spellcheck alot as well.

I honestly dont think there are any concrete guidelines.

after the first 8 or so days most the radiation that was not traped in thryoid tissue should have gotten out of the body.

the half life of RAI-131 is 8.02 days. so of that radiation traped by your body it is half of what it was 8 days later then half again in another 8... so every day you can stay away the better for them and every foot away is also better as radiation only travles so far.

hope this all helps


Posts: 25
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi Craig,

This post caught my attention because my surgeon told me I would be able to work while getting the RAI treatment...however, when I took the RAI pill for the scan I couldn't work for 3 days because of exposure....I am so confused. I work with the public so exposure was definitely not an option. Even if I could work during the RAI treatment, aren't I going to be pretty wiped out not being able to take my thyroid meds. How am I suppose to maintain job performance if I am completely wiped out....just thought I would ask.


Posts: 507
Joined: Apr 2010

for a scan you shoulndt have enough exposure to hurt ANYONE

but for treatment you will be unable to be around people especaly elderly and children for a few days.

talk to the radiology department that is going to do your treatment with they will tell you the after RAI.

before RAI you will be wiped out if you are off of thyroid replacement and moody and grumpy and...but you can probably work

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